UK Release date: 8th October 2010
Watched on Sky+ Saturday 9th February 2013.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I can’t claim to have known too much about this one before giving it a look; I have seen/heard Rhys Ifans interviewed quite a few times and this is one of his films that gets a lot of mentions. On the strength of this I decided to give it the once over. Not the best production ever, but quite a compelling (true) story nonetheless. Here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.
Based on his book, we are told the story of Mr. Nice; a.k.a. Howard Marks (Rhys Ifans). From his humble beginnings in a small town in Wales, on to Oxford University and then into the world of international drug smuggling. On the way he meets his wife, Judy (Chloë Sevigny) and is involved with an IRA arms dealer, Jim McCann (David Thewlis). He is recruited by MI6, lies in court but is eventually brought to justice. It’s quite an enthralling tale but one I ultimately found was very unbalanced (more on that later).
I don’t know whether it was deliberate or not, but I found the picture quality very poor. It may have been to make it look more like a period piece, but more likely it was the best the budget would allow. I thought Rhys Ifans did an excellent job, although he never seems to age all through the film! I loved the small part David Thewlis played; the mad-cap Irishman was just brilliant. As to the plot; well I found it far too sympathetic to Marks; not surprising since it was based on his book I hear you say. But I would have thought the filmmakers would have put a little balance in there; what effect did all the drugs he sold all over the world have? How many innocent lives were affected? All this seemed inconsequential and probably explains why, despite some excellent performances, the film didn’t perform very well both at the box office and also critically. For me, whilst I enjoyed the performances, I found it a little too self-indulgent.
SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED (…Just)
My score: 5.8/10.
IMDb Score: 6.3/10 (based on 3,571 votes when this review was written).
MetaScore: 60/100: (Based on 14 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 43/100 (based on 3,776 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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